Home Fact-Check Media Fact-Check Did India Today modify 1988 report on Rajiv Gandhi using INS Virat as 'personal taxi' after PM Modi raised the issue?

Did India Today modify 1988 report on Rajiv Gandhi using INS Virat as ‘personal taxi’ after PM Modi raised the issue?

OpIndia investigated the allegation and here is what we found. 

Last night, Prime Minister Modi shared an India Today article from 1988 where the Rajiv Gandhi family went on a vacation to Lakshadweep islands and used India’s premier warship INS Virat ‘as a personal taxi’ for a personal holiday.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked people to read the article and share it widely, Twitter was abuzz that India Today has changed the content of the story. After all, their web edition did show that the story was last updated on May 8, 2019, at 22:46 IST.

OpIndia investigated the allegation and here is what we found.

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OpIndia compared the version that appears as of today (May 9, 2019) with that of an archived version on May 6, 2019.

Heading of the archived article of India Today

Heading of the current article of India Today

As seen above, the featured image of the article has been changed from “Rajiv Gandhi emerging from water” to a file picture of Rajiv Gandhi at a beach.

The article then talks about how the island Bangaram was strategically chosen since it was the only island where foreigners were not banned and prohibition was not in place.

The article (archived and current) talks about the holidaying group in Lakshadweep which included Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi’s mother, her brother and a maternal uncle. Also present were then MP Amitabh Bachchan, his wife Jaya Bachchan and their children, daughter of Amitabh’s brother Ajitabh, and former minister Arun Singh’s brother Bijendra Singh’s wife and daughter.

Ajitabh Bachchan and Amitabh Bachchan’s names had recently cropped up when OpIndia investigated Rahul Gandhi’s nationality matter. Congress had recently shared a copy of the certificate of incorporation of ‘Bristol Legal Services Limited’ which stated Rahul Gandhi’s nationality as Indian. Rahul Gandhi’s address in that document read “2, Frognal Way, London, UK NW3 6XE”. 2, Frognal Way, London is also the address of Asia TV Limited, a company incorporated by Amitabh Bachchan’s brother, Ajitabh Bachchan.

Ajitabh Bachchan, at the time of above vacation, was under investigation for alleged Foreign Exchange Regulations Act (FERA) violations.

Coming back to India Today’s updated article, going line by line, OpIndia has found that the text of the article has not been changed. However, the images published then were edited to bring them in line with the current format.

Small image in the archived article, text remains the same.

Image dimensions formatted with text remaining same in the updated version

As can be seen above, the images are formatted to make the dimensions appear proper and more reader-friendly.

In conclusion, yes, the article has been updated, but the content remains the same.

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